Saturday, January 16, 2016

Lord of the Dance: vom vom vom

In life, what I like best is finding myself in a situation I would not have anticipated at all only a few weeks before, doing something not ordinary or that I thought I would never do.

This week, such a moment took place. I went to see Lord of the Dance at the Playhouse Theatre in the West End. People look to me for good shows, so all of them were very surprised when I told them I was going. It's a long story, but basically I befriended one of the performers and wanted to see him/her in action. His/her backstory was fascinating, s/he was living her/his dream on that stage, so I thought it was pretty cool.

Plus I found £10 tickets.

And I knew that, on some levels, the show would be terrible, so bad it would be hilarious. So the idea of being a bit drunk in the final row of the balcony (so steep! I had a bit of a headache at the beginning) watching my friend dance really appealed.

Now, my friend was great - all the dancing cast was great. So much talent on that stage, light leaps, heavy and amazingly fast footwork from the dancers, and also a really strong female singer. Sadly they were all lumbered with the least tasteful production I've ever seen on stage.

I can only list the affronts to beauty, which had me gasping throughout:
colour-saturated videos of unicorns calmly eating grass in a lush forest by a waterfall, blonde virgin-type girl versus brunette seductress plotl ine, actually a non-existing story for most the show, short sparkly dresses I saw on sale at the local street market today, a really annoying gymnast with the stage presence of a worm, bad robots, good robots.

And worst of all, two female violinists who were not playing live. In the first half, an entire number was just for them two to prance around the stage, pretending to play a catchy tune. Except they were faking it. What's the point of that? We hardly needed any more eye-candy: the girl dancers provided plenty already. It really made me question the integrity of the creative team behind the show - and of the performers themselves. How can you live with yourself when you say "I am in Lord of the Dance, I pretend to play the fiddle for 5 minutes in each half of the show".

It made me so angry. It made me irate to think audience members thought this was a good show. They had been massively short changed. Five minutes from the Playhouse, you have the stunning-looking and funny Kinky Boots, you have English National Ballet dancing to a full orchestra, you have the high production values of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. How can this Lord of the Dance, this phenomenon - as the opening video made clear - be compared to them?

Sadly, this show is to be avoided at all cost. Even the high ironic laughter factor is not enough for it to deserve support. Better to go watch an Irish Dance competition.

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